Tuesday, July 2, 2013

An Adventure in the Baltic Sea


Baltic Sea is all deep blue and sparkling! On the cruise, you will be experiencing the salty northern winds in the lovely sunlight. The most prominent destinations on the Baltic Cruise are Helsinki, Turku, Aland Islands, Stockholm, Tallinn and Riga. The Major cruise operators are the Tallink Grupp, Silja Lines, Viking Line, Azura Cruises, Lindblad Expeditions and Ocean Princess Cruises. Tallink Grupp is a major shipping company operating in the Baltic Sea. It owns eighteen ships that cruise under the brand names of Tallink and Silja Lines on six separate routes. The Tallink and Silja Lines ships have good cafes and restaurants, bars, duty-free shopping, sauna bath and swimming pools. Baltic Sea cruises run between May and August because the weather is cold during the rest of the year and not comfortable for cruising. Sailing to the Baltic Sea is mostly to and from Helsinki which stretches across many peninsulas and islands. The city is a hub for most of the Baltic Sea cruises. Carl Ludvig Engel’s architecture in the Senate Square is magnificent. The floral markets are full of colors and fragrance. Sailing has become a way of life in Scandinavia. The Baltic Sea has become an important part of the Nordic region. Helsinki is considered as the `daughter’ of the Baltic Sea. It is Finland’s capital and its largest city. The marketplace is close by to the harbor. Another important attraction in Helsinki is the Suomenlinna Fortress, also known as the Gibraltar of the North, which has guarded the entrance to the city for centuries. The Helsinki Cathedral is also symbolic of the city. It was designed and completed in 1852 by the famous architect, Carl Ludvig Engel. A third of the city is made up of green areas and parks. The first port of call on the Baltic adventure is Turku from Helsinki. The archipelago and the Aurajoki River are the main sights at Turku. The world’s largest cruise liner, Oasis of the Seas, was constructed at the shipyard outside Turku. In summer, people get together for a picnic on the Aurajoki River. Along this river, you will come across the Turku Castle which has become a national monument since the fifteenth century. Turku is the oldest city in Finland and is regarded as the official Christmas City in the country. The next stop on the cruise is Mariehamn, the capital of the Aland Islands. The islands belong to Finland. The surprising thing to note is that the spoken language is Swedish and not Finnish. You can do cycling, fishing and kayaking on these islands. Mariehamn is only few hours away from Stockholm which is the next port of call. Stockholm has many palaces to offer. One such famous one is Drottningholm which is the residence of the royal family. Stockholm is also famous for its Blue House where the Nobel Prize functions are held. The city is characterized by cobbled stone streets and rows of boutiques and antique shops. The Stockholm Archipelago stretches for more than sixty kilometers to the east. Stockholm is sometimes referred to as the Venice of the North. It is surrounded by clean and green islands. It has become a very popular cruise destination and each year, there are more than three hundred liners that enter this city. The internal harbours in Stockholm are all adequately equipped for the arrival of cruise ships and their locations in central are responsible in making this city a popular cruise destination. The next port of call is Tallinn which is the largest city and capital of Estonia. Its old town has been listed as a World Heritage site by UNESCO. It is also ranked as one of the top ten digital cities in the world. Tallinn is regarded as one of the well preserved cities in Northern Europe. It has become an important and a popular cruise stop for ships. Its Pirita Beach has a good view of the Gulf of Finland. The final port of call on this Baltic adventure is Riga. This is also a popular port in the Baltic Sea region. About a hundred cruise ships dock at the port every year. Riga is the largest city and the capital of Latvia. Riga is also the largest city of the Baltic States. There are many buildings in Riga with mediaeval style of architecture. The old town has several cathedrals housing one of the world’s most ancient and historic pipe organs. The Baltic Sea is big and bold and has always drawn many adventurers to it. When you take a cruise to the Baltic Sea and visit the magnificent ports of Northern Europe, you will realize why people keep coming back to this part of the world.

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